Since the beginning of history, human beings have committed idolatry. Whether it be ourselves as humans, a golden calf or the influential discipler, we have taken something or someone who is not God, and committed ourselves to worship them.
Well, you may say you would surely know if you were committing idolatry and you may be right. Just in case though, let me give you a few things to think about. Before I do, please understand that I myself am guilty of this type of idolatry and I must make an active effort to repent from it constantly.
This is idolatry is the fact that I have certain public Christian figures that I admire and respect. Ones that if I were to meet in person I would probably look like a giddy school girl in front of. I have also found that many of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ do this too. We do this so much that we blindly believe anything that person teaches.
Why is this problematic? Well, because they aren’t perfect human beings for one. They are fallible, they are tempted by the same things we are tempted with. If you walked up to a man like Paul Washer or James White (two of my influences) I am sure they would tell you that you should never simply believe them blindly. They would also happily admit their own imperfections.
We err when we forget that these men can and will make mistakes. They can be biased in their understanding of certain things. That doesn’t mean they do it intentionally, but that they by their own nature are human. This reality struck me when I read an article from Dr. Michael Brown regarding John MacArthur and Cessationism. Even though these 2 men are on polar opposites on the doctrinal spectrum regarding the use of the gifts of the spirit Dr. Brown didn’t denounce MacArthur. He simply stated that he believed MacArthur to have a blind spot toward Continuationism. This was a gracious and loving response to a doctrinal disagreement and it showed me that men I respect are just as flawed as I am.
I ultimately believe that this is why Paul tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We go wrong when we hang onto and cling to every word or doctrine from our revered teachers, without considering the alternative. This is when this becomes idolatry, when our view of one teacher is such that they can never be wrong or challenged. If we do this regarding ourselves, we make ourselves to be idols. May it never be so.